Toledo man gets 6 years in fatality

8/29/2013
BY JENNIFER FEEHAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Before sending him to prison for the maximum term of six years, Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Gene Zmuda Wednesday told Xavier Tate he was no friend to homicide victim La’Sean Robinson.

“Perhaps the old adage, ‘With friends like that who needs enemies?’ is appropriate given the way you treated your friend,” Judge Zmuda said. “Friends do not take the body, strip it of all clothing, and dump it in a field as if it was a piece of garbage thrown out the window, and that’s what you did to your friend.”

Tate, 29, of 161 Austin St. pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence and obstructing justice in the June, 2012, death of Mr. Robinson, 29. 

Judge Zmuda also ordered him to pay $4,300 in restitution to Mr. Robinson’s family for funeral expenses.

Tate, Mr. Robinson, and two others were heading home after a night out drinking when Mr. Robinson, who was a front seat passenger, was shot once in the head by Charles McCuin, 21, of 4130 Isadore Lane, who was in the back seat.

Tate, who was driving the car, helped McCuin dump Mr. Robinson’s body in a North Toledo field, disposed of his bloody clothing, cleaned his car for any trace of the shooting, and lied to police about what happened.

Tate admitted his role in the crimes and apologized to Mr. Robinson’s mother.

“I don’t deserve to get forgave. I haven’t forgave myself,” Tate said.

Gwendolyn Robinson said in a statement read to the court that her family holds all three men responsible for her son’s death, though she said relatives have put the matter in God’s hands.

“Now it’s a year later and it still feels like yesterday,” she said. “I still wonder why. I hope they are all doing the same.”

McCuin is serving 14 years in prison for involuntary manslaughter with a firearms specification and tampering with evidence. 

The other backseat passenger, Michael Fizer, 28, of 2361 Hollywood Ave. was sentenced to six months at the Correctional Treatment Facility in Toledo for tampering with evidence.

Mike Loisel, an assistant Lucas County prosecutor, said Tate will serve his six-year sentence at the same time he serves a federal prison sentence on unrelated drug charges. On Monday, U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey Helmick sentenced Tate to five years in prison for possession with intent to distribute heroin and for felon possession of a firearm.

Contact Jennifer Feehan at: jfeehan@theblade.com or 419-213-2134.